Amherst is named for Lord Jeffrey Amherst, the British commander in the French and Indian War, of the 1760s, in which he led a germ-warfare campaign against the Native American allies of the French. The Brits got blankets infected with smallpox into tribal communities, killing many people.
In 2016, beautiful Amherst College (named for the town it's in, not for Lord Jeffrey) dropped its "Lord Jeffrey" mascot at the demand of students at that elite college, and it will rename the college's snazzy Lord Jeffrey Inn.
Progressive and arty Hampshire College is also in Amherst. The Connecticut River goes through a long valley of colleges.